# World Football Elo Ratings

The World Football Elo Ratings is a ranking system for men's national association football teams that is published by the website eloratings.net. It is based on the Elo rating system but includes modifications to take various football-specific variables into account, like the margin of victory, importance of a match, and home field advantage. Other implementations of the Elo rating system are possible and there is no single nor any official Elo ranking for football teams.

Since being developed, the Elo rankings have been found to have the highest predictive capability for football matches.[1] FIFA's official rankings, both the FIFA World Rankings for men and the FIFA Women's World Rankings are based on a modified version of the Elo formula, the men's rankings having switched away from FIFA's own system for matches played since June 2018.[2]

## History and overview

The Elo system, developed by Hungarian-American mathematician Árpád Élő, is used by FIDE, the international chess federation, to rate chess players, and by the European Go Federation, to rate Go players. In 1997, Bob Runyan adapted the Elo rating system to international football and posted the results on the Internet.[3] He was also the first maintainer of the World Football Elo Ratings web site, currently maintained by Kirill Bulygin. Other implementations of the Elo rating system are possible [4] but the Runyan system is the best known.

The Elo system was adapted for football by adding a weighting for the kind of match, an adjustment for the home team advantage, and an adjustment for goal difference in the match result.

The factors taken into consideration when calculating a team's new rating are:

• The team's old rating
• The considered weight of the tournament
• The goal difference of the match
• The result of the match
• The expected result of the match

The different weights of competitions in descending order are:

The ratings consider all official international matches for which results are available. Ratings tend to converge on a team's true strength relative to its competitors after about 30 matches.[5] Ratings tend to converge on a team's true strength relative to its competitors after about 30 matches; ratings for teams with fewer than 30 matches are considered provisional.

### Comparison with other systems

A 2009 comparative study of eight methods found that the implementation of the Elo rating system described below had the highest predictive capability for football matches, while the men's FIFA ranking method (2006-2018 system) performed poorly. [4]

The FIFA World Rankings is the official national teams rating system used by the international governing body of football. The FIFA Women's World Rankings system has used a modified version of the Elo formula since 2003. In June 2018, the FIFA ranking switched to an Elo-based ranking as well, starting from the current FIFA rating points.[6] The major difference between the World Football Elo Rating and the future men's FIFA rating system is that the latter will not consider goal differential and will count a penalty shoot-out as a win/loss rather than a draw; thus, a 7:0 blowout will be considered equal to a 7:6 penalty shoot-out win (neither method distinguishes a win in extra time from a win in regular time). The FIFA method will further be less sensitive to the difference in ratings and more sensitive to match status.[7] Finally, World Football Elo Ratings considers all official international matches for which results are available, including those involving "unaffiliated" teams that are not a member of FIFA.

## Top 100

The following table shows the top 100 teams in the World Football Elo Ratings as they were on 10 August 2018, using data from the World Football Elo Ratings web site.[8]

Each national team's FIFA World Ranking is shown as per the latest release on 7 June 2018.[9]

 AFC CAF CONCACAF CONIFA CONMEBOL OFC UEFA
1. ^ Northern Cyprus are not a member of FIFA and are not included in the FIFA Rankings. Also, they have played only 17 matches against other Elo-ranked teams, so their Elo rating is provisional.
2. ^ Martinique are also not members of FIFA, so are not included in the FIFA Rankings.
3. ^ Kuwait is ranked much lower in the FIFA Ranking because they were inactive from October 2015 to December 2017 due to their suspension from FIFA. While this caused their FIFA Ranking to fall dramatically, their Elo rating remained the same. The same applies to Guatemala but to a lesser extent.

## List of number one teams

The following is the list of nations who have achieved the number one position in the World Football Elo Ratings since 1872:[10]

## Ranking by days as leader

10,605 30 November 1872 11 June 1988
9,044 29 July 1908 9 November 2016
8,521 12 June 1958 14 July 2018
6,059 4 March 1876 19 Oct 1926
[c] 4,631 25 July 1966 9 November 2017
2,771 28 August 1920 11 October 2013
2,694 7 June 1934 15 August 2006
1,980 12 September 1984 Current
1,964 20 September 1952 12 March 1960
1,775 29 August 1920 15 June 1929
[d] 1,414 21 March 1963 24 June 1988
1,042 1 June 1978 3 July 2014
676 5 June 1914 7 Oct 1916
11 27 May 1934 6 June 1934
8 27 June 2004 7 June 2005
1. ^ a b c Number one position reached at / after first match
2. ^ Days spent as co-leaders are counted as a ½ day
3. ^ Combined record of the Germany (1908-1950 & 1990-present) and West Germany (1950-1990) national football teams.
4. ^ So far, only the Soviet Union national football team (1924-1992) has reached the #1 position, but any future efforts by the Russia national football team (1992-present) will be included.[11]

## Biggest upsets

This is a list of matches with the biggest point exchange.[12] Since the importance of the match, the goal differential and the perceived home team advantage are factored in the exchange, these are not necessarily the most surprising wins as expressed by the difference in Elo rating.[a]
The nations' points before the matches are given.

Rank Point
exchange
Nation 1 Elo 1 Nation 2 Elo 2 Score Date Occasion Location
1 98 1676 1845 8–1 1924-05-29 Olympic Games Paris
2 92 1824 1991 7–1 1928-06-04 Olympic Games Amsterdam
1397 * 1655 4–0 1948-08-02 Olympic Games Walthamstow
4 87 1478 2041 3–1 1920-08-28 Olympic Games Antwerp
5 84 * 1677 1919 3–0 1924-05-29 Olympic Games Paris
1855 2003 6–1 1958-06-15 World Cup Helsingborg
7 83 1171 1523 4–0 1980-02-23 OFC Nations Cup Nouméa
8 82 1606 2005 2–0 2006-06-17 World Cup Cologne
9 81 2120 2122 1–7 2014-07-08 World Cup Belo Horizonte
10 80 1642 * 1567 16–0 1912-07-01 Olympic Games Solna
1604 * 1668 7–0 1954-06-20 World Cup Geneva
1481 1783 4–0 1973-12-14 CONCACAF Championship Port-au-Prince
1677 2044 2–0 2018-06-27 World Cup Kazan

*The initial ratings may be partially responsible for the high point exchange. The national teams of China, Egypt, Russia, and South Korea had played only 18, 3, 2, and 18 international matches before their respective upsets. China had only yet played against East Asian teams.

1. ^ In those terms, most surprising may have been the 2:1 win of Luxembourg (Elo rating 1036) over Switzerland (ER 1794) in a World Cup qualification match in September 2008 (a 758 point difference). In another World Cup qualifier in October 2004 Liechtenstein (ER 1049) held the 853 points higher rated Portuguese team (ER 1902) to a 2:2 draw.

## Elo all-time records

### All-time highest ratings

The following is a list of national football teams ranked by their highest Elo score ever reached.[13] The team in each confederation that has achieved the highest rank is shown in color.

1. ^ at present as Russia
2. ^ at present as Serbia
3. ^ On 1 January 2006, Football Federation Australia moved from the OFC to the AFC
4. ^ Algeria had only played 8 matches to this point.
5. ^ South Africa had only played 1 match to this point.

### All-time highest ranking

The following is a list of national football teams ranked by their highest Elo ranking ever reached.[13]

1. ^
2. ^
3. ^ Wales was in 3rd place from its first match in 1876 to 1902, in a period that only 3 to 4 teams were in the rankings
4. ^ a b The combined Ireland national football team was in 4th place from its first match in 1882 to 1902, in a period that only 4 teams were in the rankings
5. ^ Trinidad and Tobago were in 11th place after their first match in July 1905, but had slipped to 32nd place before their second match in 1923.
6. ^ Guyana was in 15th and last place after their first match in July 1905, but was in 22nd place (out of 26) before their second match in 1915.
The biggest point gap

The biggest point gap between 1st and 2nd national team was between 14 March and 21 March 1885, when Scotland (at 2094) led by 205 points over 2nd ranked England (at 1889).[14]

## Average ratings

Time averaged Elo or Elo-like scores are routinely used to compare chess player strengths.[15][16][17] The following is a list of the national teams with the highest average Elo score from 1 January 1970 to 1 January 2018. Before this time intercontinental play was fairly limited and many nations in Africa, North America, and Asia had played too few games yet to create a representative Elo score.

Cite error: There are <ref group=lower-alpha> tags or {{efn}} templates on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=lower-alpha}} template or {{notelist}} template (see the help page).